Having neglected Vinyl Candy on their second release, Land, it seemed a good time to write a few words about their latest effort, the exceptional The Dirty Third. Some new bands release one great album and then never capture that magic again. Others take a little time through experimentation via several releases to find their voice, and to create that first great album, and I think that’s where Vinyl Candy’s at right now.
Now this isn’t to slag on their previous efforts. Their debut, Pacific Ocean Park, is a recording that still holds an immense amount of pleasure for me. Its aim was to capture that ‘70s So Cal sound, which it did effortlessly. There was a period of nearly five years between their freshman effort and their second release, Land. Land was an ambitious piece of work – a little bloated and very much all over the place. It took a long time and many listens to learn to truly appreciate much of it, which I do now. The thing with both of those albums, though, was that when you listened to them, it was all too easy to say, “That song sounds like [fill in the blank]!” Vinyl Candy paid homage to their heroes through the first two records and there’s nothing at all wrong with that, and it can be a hugely rewarding experience for the listener.
But what’s even more rewarding is when a band like Vinyl Candy finally, really and truly, finds the sound that defines their band. I’ve listened to The Dirty Third at least once every couple days for the past few weeks, and never once do I hear the tunes and hear anything other than Vinyl Candy themselves. They've moved past their influences, and will hopefully now start influencing others. It’s a nearly perfect blend of rock, pop & rock and pop ballads, and strong both musically and lyrically. These songs have energy and meaning and truth behind them. I’ve read a couple reviews that have said that with this album the band has moved into darker territory, which is odd, because Land, as a concept at least, was very dark. The Dirty Third doesn’t strike me as dark as much as it strikes me as real (not to mention really good).
This is a band that’s had something to say for a while now, and they’ve finally figured out exactly how to say it. The Dirty Third is absolutely deserving of being on a major label, but given the state of the music industry these days, that really isn’t something I’d wish on a group of talented men like Vinyl Candy, lest they’re forced to lose what makes them so wonderful in the first place.
Click here and here to sample The Dirty Third, as well as see video footage of the band.
Click here to download or buy The Dirty Third (or any of their albums) directly from the band’s website, or you can pick it up from Not Lame if you’re so inclined.
While you're at it, be sure to join their Facebook page!